Service Scout: Fleury Rose Halloween Nails Thursday 25 October, 2012

A vampire’s kiss, some evil eyes, bats and a jack-o-lantern: Manicurist-on-the-rise Fleury Rose serves my nails her special brand of Halloween nail art.

I’ve always been a great admirer of those who can paint detailed art work on the tiniest of canvases: the nail bed. So when I made the trip out to Bushwick, Brooklyn, to Tomahawk Salon to meet Illamasqua‘s newly minted US Nail Ambassador, Fleury Rose, I couldn’t wait to see what this artist would pull out of her bag of tricks. After all, I’d already been voyeuristically stalking her Tumblr,, and knew what she’s capable of. (PS: Love her Tumblr’s tagline: FRESH, ORIGINAL BAD ASS NAILS for the people!)


(My finished Halloween nails, shot a week later at a party. Tons of compliments, let me tell you!)

You would think, then, that I’d come prepared. You see, most of Fleury’s salon clients (she reckons about 90%) come armed with a design in mind, whether it be a tear from a fashion magazine or a hand-drawn picture. They’re a very detail-oriented group, these clients, and Fleury serves them exactly what they want. “People typically don’t pick something off of my nail art wheels. They already know about me, so they’re nail art fans anyway,” she told me, adding that these nail fanatics don’t go for run-of-the-mill art designs that are in heavy circulation on the internet. They desire something more. (Side note: Fleury typically only works in the salon on weekends, and her clients only request nail art. Meaning, she’s not there to just do a basic polish job.)


(Both hands, and my favorite design: the Vampire’s Kiss [learn how to do it here] on the pinky.)

But maybe because I’m timid, I just didn’t bring any kind of directive. Or maybe I just wanted to see what Fleury would suggest for my little nubbin’ nails. (They are so small!) As I settled in, Fleury immediately thought we might as well hit the Halloween sweet spot with her cool brand of spooky nails. Sight unseen, I agreed to it. What followed was so quick, it was mind-boggling.


But first, a little more about Fleury: When she’s not at Tomahawk on the weekends, she’s often booked to do editorial shoots or events. And one of the greatest bits about this particular manicurist is that when she gets booked for a magazine job, they book her for her art work. What I mean is: She isn’t often asked to come to set to just do a basic polish. Editors seek out Fleury specifically for her command of nail art, both big (like a recent gig for Carine Roitfeld’s new fashion magazine, CR Fashion Book, where Fleury embedded long hair extensions into a model’s nail tips) and minimalist (like the Teen Vogue “Electric Shock” story, which boasted simpler nail art, such as a neon splatter). And that’s the way Fleury likes it; she is unabashedly a lover of nail art designs, and the more she can spread her special brand of artistry, the better.

 Fleury-Rose-Nail-Art-Boards  Fleury-Rose-Nail-Art-Wheels  Fleury-Stud-Nail-Art  Fleury-Rose-Nail-Art

(Above images: The many, many nail art designs that Fleury can whip up on a dime.)

Fleury also doesn’t believe in conformity; at one point, we talked about how beauty trends are dictated by (ahem, cough) a select few (editors = me) and how society feels it may need to adapt to these boxed-in ideals. Not Fleury; her view is to do what moves you, what feels right, and what makes you most happy—and that comes through in her nail art. You needn’t look a certain way; you need to look your way.


(The Illamasqua Nail Varnishes used in my design, top to bottom, left to right: Alarm, Gamma, Creator, Noble, Boosh, Scorch, and Jo’mina.)

So when like-minded beauty brand Illamasqua came a-knockin’, the decision to become the brand’s US Nail Ambassador was a no-brainer. It all happened quite by chance: Lucky magazine featured Fleury in a pedicure story; she had used an Illamasqua product in it. Someone at the brand read the story, searched Fleury online and liked what he/she saw. Outreach followed; the rest is history. And Fleury fits the brand and its mission to a T. Best known for its unconventional makeup (super-saturated, unusual colors, high-performance) and its optimistic—and very fearless—outlook, Illamasqua boast this mantra: “Illamasqua is for the bolder person hiding inside all of us. It is an act and an attitude. A symbol of tolerance. A celebration of idiosyncrasies. A confident statement of self-ownership.” The stars aligned on this partnership.


(For some detail work, Fleury turns to traditional paints.)

“I really love working with them; they’re so nice and creative,” Fleury told me. “They really are encouraging; they’re not trying to make the same colors out there, not wanting to do the same designs.” Plus, Fleury believes in the product. After she pops off the square black top on each Illamasqua Nail Varnish, only to reveal a smaller, circular black handle with a ridged grip, I admit how those types of two-in-one polish caps confound me.


(Crafting the mouth on my Vampire’s Kiss nail. When she’s doing it, I have no idea what the final design will be. I totally went into it blind.)

Fleury set me straight: “They’re so much easier to handle! Who can paint nails holding onto a big cap? It’s so cumbersome!” The bigger square cap is for “looks;” the smaller cap inside is meant to get down and dirty and offer tons more control. Got it.

“When you use so much nail polish, you start to notice things like brush, bottle and the shape of the handles,” Fleruy confided. And Illamasqua’s Nail Varnish fits this manicurist perfectly on all counts.


(The Katy Perry pose: My final nails!)

But back to my nails: Fleury swiftly coats my nails in Illamasqua Nail Varnish, deftly switching colors for each nail. After two coats, she begins detail-painting black bats and a black oval on my pinky (soon to become a vampire’s mouth). She drops perfect circles of white polish on two fingers, then dives back in with the black to create a Jack-o-lantern. Once finished with him, she drops tinier circles of blue in the center of the white drops, then paints white fangs on my vampire. Fleury adheres tiny sequins in a cross shape on two fingers, and then finishes her “Evil Eye” design with a final black dot in the middle of each eye. A lone rhinestone tops one cross. Everything is top-coated. Wham. Bam.


(Fleury cleans up shop at Tomahawk Salon.)

I’m in awe, to say the least. We shoot the breeze for a while after, and when it’s time to go, I walk back to the subway, staring at my nails the whole way. So much so, I miss a turn and end up having to trudge my way back an extra five minutes, frantically searching Google Maps to figure out where I went wrong. I’m that infatuated with the art and the process. Yes, very much so.

What do you think of my Halloween nails? Will you be doing a spooky design on your nails?

Karie L. Frost Signature

(First image: Rachel Scroggins; all others property of Karie L. Frost/


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